Tips on How to Relocate Your Business Online
A business is all about making money, and the best place for most businesses to make money today is not on some prime real estate but on the virtual landscape of the Internet.
Why is that?
The Advantages of Moving Your Business Online
First of all, just about everyone is online nowadays, thanks to more affordable and faster Internet access. People turn to the World Wide Web to get their information and even make their purchases too. By putting up your business online, you get to reach a much wider audience than just having a physical store.
Secondly, people can access the Internet just about everywhere. They can use their smartphones, tablets, or laptops, so they’re always connected even on the go. With WiFi hotspots and up to 5G mobile broadband speeds, they can do their shopping no matter the place.
In connection to that, having a website means business is open 24/7. Whether it’s at the dead of midnight or it’s a holiday, people can check out the website to read about the business’ products/services and even take out their credit cards to spend some money.
On the side of businesses, starting a website is a lot cheaper than starting a brick-and-mortar store. Essentially, all a business has to do is to pay for a domain name and the regular fee to keep the website up. There would be no need to look for a good location, hire construction workers to build a store or modify the space provided, and/or enlist employees to help run it.
Naturally, it’s also more affordable to run a website than it is to operate a physical store. Again, you just have to pay for the hosting fees, unlike dealings with overhead including electricity bills, water bills, and hiring plenty of staff to handle all sorts of jobs for offline businesses.
Once that decision to transfer your business online is made, here are the steps you need to follow:
1. Choosing a domain name and registrar.
To kickstart your business’ online venture, you need to look for a domain name. Not just any kind of domain name, mind you. Since it’s what people will be typing on the address bar of their Web browsers, it has to be something that will stick to your target audience’s minds. As a general tip, it’s the ones that are short and highly descriptive that has good recall.
More often than not, those types of domain names have already been taken, so unless your business’ name is totally unique, you’re going to have to compromise with a domain name that’s a little longer than most. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the name of your business. You can instead use words that relate to it, such as what your company is all about or a popular product/service you have.
Another part of the domain name is the domain extensions. These are the letters that come after the “dot” after the domain name. Since you’re a business, you’ll want to stick with either .com or .biz, but you can always use country specific extensions if your business is registered outside the US.
Once you’ve decided and they’re available, you then have to register it. Check out the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers website for a list of registration authorities.
2. Looking for a web host.
Next up is looking for a good web host. The web host is the company that keeps a website up online, maintaining all its files and pages to continue operations. There are three important factors that you need to consider – bandwidth, control panel, and technical support.
- Bandwidth is the capacity of a website to exchange data across connections, so the bigger the bandwidth available is usually the better. If you’re not expecting to have that much traffic, you can opt for more reasonable bandwidth to save money.
- The control panel is what you’ll be using to keep tabs on the website. If you’re not much of a tech guru, you’d be better off choosing a web host that offers a more user-friendly control panel.
- Technical support is there to help you with any concerns regarding how your website is being hosted, which includes troubleshooting for technical problems. Your best bet would be a web host that has a phone service that is available at all times, so you never have to experience having your website down with absolutely no clue as to why that’s happening.
3. Designing and developing the website.
With the technical aspects down, it’s on to designing and developing the website.
Having a website that looks good is as much an important factor as getting a good domain and web host. People who see an ugly website will probably not stick around for very long. Ugly can mean jarring fonts, a cheaply done logo, or text and links crammed into a confusing layout. If you’re not a designer yourself, you’ll want to hire a professional.
Web development is about turning that overall design into something that can be used efficiently by the site’s visitors. This includes everything from the registration forms, the flow of the purchasing process, the tools and widgets applied, etc. Again, it is better to hire a professional developer so that everything works smoothly.
Afterwards, you need to run some quality assurance to test out the entire website. This is to guarantee that everything is in order, and that people will have a good experience using the website.
4. Applying Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
You can be on your way to having some success if you’re offering a quality product/service and your brand is fairly known. But if you really want to get the most out of your website, you’ll want to apply search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO, as the name suggests, is all about optimizing a website so that it can rank higher in the results pages of search engines. Having your website show up in the first couple of pages in Google can help greatly, since a lot of people use that search engine to find things online, whether they just need information or they want to buy something.
Delving into its complexities is another topic on its own, but there are a couple of key things to remember about SEO.
- It helps define a business because of the strategy involved in building the business’ brand and reaching out to people, so it’s best done before the website is “open for business”. Having a good SEO foundation will help chart the website’s direction in the future.
- Start-ups have the most to gain from SEO because of the hurdles they face, including little to no public recognition and modest starting capital to draw from, keeping them from affording big marketing campaigns. SEO overcomes both these limiting factors.
5. Utilizing social media.
Lastly, you have to take into consideration the biggest influencer online – social media. Chances are, everyone who browses the Internet has an account on at least one social media site.
You need to register to the sites that will get you connected to your target audience. Facebook and Twitter are highly important, with their respective user base reaching up to a billion and more collectively. Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are good if your business has good visual content to publish. There are dozens of other social media platforms out there, and it’s up to you to decide which ones can help your business.
Social media is all about relationships, and what are relationships if not meaningful exchanges between multiple parties? Because of this, you need to offer something of value to your followers. It could be awesome content, special promos and discounts to your products/services, or passes to exclusive events—anything that will catch and keep their attention. You’ll have a better chance of doing so if you make them feel special.
In conjunction with that is that once your audience expresses their opinion on social media (and they will), you need to reply. Social media allows for more immediate dialogue between a business and its customers, so capitalize on that and get to talking.
These two actions enable you to start building a community. By forming a bond with your target audience, you are establishing trust that leads to brand loyalty. From encouraging your followers to tell their own networks about your business, they will start doing it for you.
And there’s nothing more powerful online than good word-of-mouth spread throughout social media from people’s own friends, families, and colleagues.
This primer should have you all ready to make the big move from offline to online, but it’s all up to you to make the big decision. Let us know in the comments section if you’re up to the task!
Online Business Survival Guide to Online Marketing
With over millions of websites vying for page views and no uniform law that regulates the entire virtual space, it’s a jungle out there on the Internet.
If you want your online business to survive this cutthroat environment, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll learn everything you’ll need to know about how to avoid getting lost in the shuffle, and maybe even pick up a thing or two about getting ahead of the competition.
Commonly referred to SEO, this process is all about making your business’ website rank higher in search engine results page for certain keywords.
Why do you want this to happen?
When people want to find out about something, they go online and type whatever it is they’re searching for on Google, or maybe Yahoo, Bing, and a host of other search engines. Most of the time, they usually just click on the first link. Rarely do they ever even go past the third page of results.
SEO helps you get to the top with a couple of methods called on-page, off-page, and site-wide optimization.
On-page optimization deals with the code on each page of your website. You should be cleaning up your title, description, keywords, and heading tags to be concise so they look better to search engines. You also want to be mindful of your content’s word count and the number of keywords it has so that it isn’t a chore to read while still maintaining quality.
Off-page optimization deals with everything you need to do outside your website for it to rank higher. Get your website registered in every big search engine’s local listings and in relevant directories. Start reaching out to other websites in the same industry as yours to get them to link back to you. Quality inbound links are one of the major factors in getting you to rank high.
Site-wide optimization deals with the overall code for your website as well as the research you’ll need to be constantly doing to keep your website ranking high. Create HTML and XML sitemaps to submit to search engines so they can crawl and index each page of your website easier. Come up with a keyword and linking strategy so you know which keywords work and which websites bring you good traffic, etc. Use analytics tools to track your website’s performance so you know which methods work and which don’t.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you probably know about Facebook, Twitter, and their ilk. With millions of people making social media important parts of their lives, it can be a very powerful marketing tool to quickly reach a whole lot of potential customers instantly.
However, you can’t just create social media accounts for your company and expect to rake in the cash right after.
First of all, you’ll need to set clear and definite goals that line up with your company’s objectives. A few that connects well with just about any business are achieving trust in customers through helpful and fun engagement, and looking for leads based on those built relationships. You just have to make sure you send a consistent message from Facebook to Twitter to everything else.
Being able to listen and understand the concerns of your audience as well as what your competitors are doing results in offering a better product or service. You want to watch out for every mention of your brand, as well as the relevant niches in your industry, across as many social media channels as possible so you can swoop right in and provide answers to problems.
Knowing just how well the platforms you’re utilizing is critical, so you’ll need metrics in the form of different tools to leverage. You’ve got a variety of software both downloadable and web-based to choose from, so pick the ones that will tell you if you’re reaching the goals you’ve set earlier. Raw data might be misleading, so get an analyst to make sure you’re reading it right.
This form of marketing relies on delivering the best kind of content in a consistent and captivating way. It might sound extremely broad, but here’s how you narrow it down to do it successfully.
Naturally, it starts with creating awesome content that speaks to the audience you’re targeting. It’s important that it’s the audience that truly matters, so don’t go around simply peddling your products. You have to show that you know exactly what they’re lacking and that you’re there to fulfill their needs.
Presentation also matters, so the site should be attention-grabbing. This includes the domain name showing your company name to avoid any confusion.
Getting your visitors to actually make a purchase means having a call-to-action or CTA that points them to a well-designed product page.
It’s an old strategy dating back to the early days of online businesses, but the fact that companies still do it means it works. It’s one way of directly communicating with your audience which has been used as a basis for social media marketing.
From establishing goals to defining your target audience and listening to what they want, the fundamental ideas remain the same. You also have to keep in mind how you’re going to be approaching your overall email marketing strategy.
Are you using a more personal way of communicating with people or do you need to be more professional with your tone? Do you have a proper balance of persuasive and informative content leading to links with good landing pages? These are just some of the issues you need to address.
You can also make use of various tools to make email creation and sending through different lists of prospects and leads much less of a hassle.
Getting people interested enough to visit your website is one thing, but persuading those people to actually entertain and then commit to a sale is on a different level.
As mentioned earlier, it’s all about the CTA. It’s your way of directing your visitors to do exactly what you want them to do.
You’re going to have to include CTAs throughout your website, from above the fold in your homepage to the bottom of every blog post. As for what they say, they must be able to urge the readers through easy-to-follow commands explaining why they need to do what you’re saying.
Of course, these CTAs have to lead them to straightforward landing pages so they can act on your orders without getting confused as to what they have to do. Having a related picture and a bullet-point list of benefits would make it easier for people to digest the whole process easier.
Once you’ve accomplished getting a person to complete an action, such as making a purchase, you’ve made a conversion. Knowing how well you are at converting visitors is just a matter of simple math: Number of conversions divided by total number of visitors.
Conversion rate optimization is basically understanding why you’re conversion rate is how it is currently and taking the necessary steps to make it better.
Considering the amount of money you’ll be making by increasing the number of people doing as they’re told (whether it’s buying something, attending events, downloading a tool, or subscribing to a mailing list), you can start pouring in more resources to improving all your other marketing campaigns.
Tracking all your online marketing efforts requires software with a lot of flexibility through multiple features that covers every major factor. Google Analytics is one such software, and the good thing about is that it’s free.
Using analytics programs opens your eyes to whatever problems your website might have, as well as what you’re doing right so you know what to keep doing and what to change.
You’ll see everything from the number of people getting to your website from various social media platforms to your landing pages’ bounce rates. This would then lead you to focus your efforts on the channels where your strengths lie and to maybe reorganize your layouts for clearer landing pages.
Another good thing about such tools is that they also point out potential blind spots that your company is actually performing well on but you don’t realize right away. Consequently, you get more business opportunities through the various conversions, or for a more general term as coined by Avinash Kaushik, the “outcomes” your website is accomplishing.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with utilizing a paid search marketing campaign. You can turn prospects into actual leads hard and fast knowing each one is definitely looking to spend some money. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is one such way to go.
Whether you’re using Google AdWords or advertisements on Facebook, you just have to make sure they’re calibrated to the right settings and each campaign you’re running is organized in a structured manner.
Tracking results also applies to this area by analyzing changes in your keyword relevancy, knowing how well specific ads are doing based on time, and seeing your visitor’s click-through path that eventually leads to conversions.
Hopefully, this guide has illuminated to you the major marketing concepts by giving you an easy-to-digest primer to all the complexities involved in the wide wild world of online marketing.